The Corner

Making a Run for the Border

I was traveling yesterday and couldn’t flack my piece on Mexico or comment on the new administration border security proposals. The proposals actually aren’t bad, as far as they go — for instance, expanding the border security task forces is important (though Napolitano is unlikely to acknowledge they were started by Julie Myers in the prior administration). But there are a number of problems, and I’d have to concur with this assessment in the Post: “Analysts said the plan appeared calibrated to provoke the least opposition at home and the greatest diplomatic and political payoff from audiences in Mexico and U.S. border areas.”

First, Lamar Smith hits the nail on the head when he says that “The administration appears to be using border violence as an excuse to reduce interior enforcement of our immigration laws and [to] enact gun restrictions.” This despite the fact that most gang members have non-gang day jobs and worksite enforcement is an important tool in keeping them off balance. Second, this administration seems so viscerally opposed to using National Guard troops on the border — even in support roles, even when border governors are demanding it — that they’re going to let things get a lot worse than they have to before they’re forced into deploying troops out of political necessity. And maybe most seriously, the administration plan does nothing about what might be the biggest vulnerability on the border — 9 million Border Crossing Cards (short-term, multiple-reentry visas supposedly used for shopping or brief visits), meaning that if things get worse, half the population of Mexico’s border states can enter the United States without having to sneak across. (Jessica Vaughan writes about the flaws in the BCC today at CIS’s blog.) (BTW, Nadler uses the wrong denominator in figuring how often the BCC is used — they were used about 100 million times last year.)


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